MANKATO — Finally ... the Minnesota State baseball team got its offense going.
After three games in which they had to rely on pitching and defense to earn victories, the Mavericks erupted for 18 hits and 17 runs in the NCAA Division II Central Region Tournament Sunday at Franklin Rogers Park. The result was a 17-1 victory against St. Cloud State to win the tourney championship and advance to the Elite Eight for the third time in the last four years..
“We knew the potential was there for our offense to get going,” MSU head coach Matt Magers said. “We were finally able to get some key hits and string some hits together and it just snow-balled from there.”
The MSU attack, which was aided by five SCSU errors, was holding a 5-1 lead entering the seventh. Three outs later, the Mavericks had a 16-1 advantage as they sent 15 batters to the plate.
During the 11-run uprising, Parker Sullivan had two RBI-singles and Scott Lindner also had two hits. Teammate Todd Standish finished the game with three hits.
By time the game’s final out was recorded, Sullivan, Lindner, Lucas Skjefte, Connor McCallum and Nolan Johnson had two hits apiece. Sullivan, McCallum and Mike Andries each had two RBIs.
Magers was glad to get some production from center fielder Sullivan and second baseman Skjefte who had been struggling for much of the tournament in the top two spots in the order.
Combined they were hitting .207 with just two RBIs in the first three tournament games.
“They are our table-setters,” Magers said. “We need them to get on base for Connor and Nolan and Stetson.
“I knew it would happen, it was just a case of when. Lucas got hot in the last two games and they’ve both been playing great defense all season for us.”